Brand mission: what it is and how to identify it

Your brand’s mission statement sets the tone for your brand. Explore how to use it to fuel your brand strategy.

Once you’ve determined your brand purpose—why your brand exists—it’s time to develop your mission. Your brand mission is critical to your brand strategy as it shows the world how you achieve your purpose. Several elements go into your brand mission, but it is expressed in a concise statement. Let’s look at the meaning of brand mission, how to identify your mission, and tips for creating a mission statement that expresses the passion behind the purpose.

What is a brand mission?

Your brand mission is a statement that puts a spotlight on what your brand is currently doing and focusing on to fulfill its brand purpose. The mission statement clearly states what your company does, how it does it, and why it does what it does. It’s action-oriented and can be used as a roadmap for your vision statement.

Your mission statement should be timeless and specific. It should be comprised of a few concise sentences that tell existing and potential customers what to expect from your brand and provide your employees with direction and inspiration. Businesses of all sizes and types need to have a mission statement.

Brand mission vs. other brand elements

Brand mission is sometimes confused or combined with other brand elements when in reality, it is a distinctly singular part of your brand strategy. Let’s look at the three brand elements that are often confused with brand mission: brand identity, brand vision, and brand voice.

Brand identity

Put all of your visual imagery, logos, colors, and key messaging together, and you have your brand identity. A strong brand identity portrays a positive image to your customers, thus helping create trust, loyalty, and familiarity. It’s brand identity that creates an emotional connection with your customers as it communicates your personality, values, and story.

Brand vision

Speaking of brand vision, this branding element is probably the most often confused with brand mission. Brand vision is your concept of the future of your brand. It includes company goals and plans for the future of your brand. While brand mission focuses on today, brand vision is dedicated to what you plan to accomplish in the future.

Brand voice

Every brand has its own way of communicating with consumers. Brand voice is the combination of colors, logos, wording, and other content that matches the tone of the target buying audience. The brand voice is usually based on your buyer personas, targeting your customer segments in relatable ways.

Why is brand mission important?

Yes, some brands try to fly without a clear mission statement. Unfortunately, that leaves employees and customers uncertain about your brand’s purpose and values. Your purpose, mission, and vision are the driving forces behind your brand’s direction. They tell the story of how your brand interacts within the company and outside of its walls. 

Some specific ways your brand mission is important:

Basis for an elevator pitch

An elevator pitch is a brief, memorable description of what your brand does. The goal of an elevator pitch is to earn a second conversation with the person you’re talking with—to convince them to use your brand, make a purchase, or hire your brand as a solution. You’re not trying to sell them with your elevator pitch.

Your mission statement describes what your brand is doing to meet your brand purpose now, so it serves as a guide for creating the perfect pitch. 

Creates a targeted approach

Because your brand mission statement clarifies how your purpose is being met, it can serve as a framework for your organization to use as a guideline for actions and decisions for everything from product development to marketing strategy. The mission statement will ensure that all actions taken by your brand are consistent with your purpose and values.

Serves as a cultural framework

Mission statements also guide company culture and workplace environment. Your mission statement is an official expression of your brand’s objectives, values, and beliefs, so it should clearly direct employee actions and set the tone for the company culture.

How to identify your brand mission

When you’re ready to identify your brand mission but are unsure where to begin, take a look at the mission statements of other brands in your industry. You can draw inspiration from them to create your own unique mission statement. 

  1. Start with your brand story

Your brand mission conveys why your brand exists. Try free writing about your business, what problem you wanted to solve, why you wanted to solve it, your inspiration for starting your business, your product or service, etc. Sum up your brand story. During this step, you’re gathering thoughts, so don’t worry about the volume of material you have.

  1. Determine the core elements

What are your core values? Your brand mission should reflect your values and ethics, as well as your product or service. These are the ingrained principles that hold meaning for you on a personal and professional level.

  1. Write your statement

Now that you have the highlights of your brand story and your core values in front of you, it’s time to clear out the unnecessary content. You need to put the ideas together in a brief statement of what you offer, your core values, and how your offering and values are aligned. This may be one sentence or a few more, but it shouldn’t include any fluff. It should be very clear and concise.

  1. Check it against criteria

Take what you’ve written and read it through. Does it meet all of the criteria we’ve discussed? Is it focused on what your company is doing now to fulfill its purpose while keeping your core values in mind? 

Look at your statement in terms of these questions:

  • Passion

Does your statement express the passion you feel about the solution you’re offering to consumers? Your feelings about the product? What makes you tick?

  • Moral or ethical stand

Does your mission statement expand on your core values and take a stand on a moral or ethical issue?

  • Public perception

Based on your brand mission statement, will people view your brand as authentic? Positive? Is your statement reflective of your brand’s actions?

  1. Ask for feedback

You have your brand mission statement. It’s been checked, rechecked, and revised—by you. The question is, will it resonate with your employees and customers? The only way to find out is to ask them.

Conduct a brief survey, asking employees how well they feel the statement represents your brand. It’s never too late to ask for input, so add a qualitative question that asks for suggestions about what should be included in the representation of the culture of your brand. 

Use employee feedback to revise the statement again, ensuring it truly reflects your company culture.

Now, send a different survey to your target market. If you’re a new brand, ask how likely they would be to shop with you based on your mission statement or how appealing a brand with this mission statement is to them. If you’re rebranding or revising your brand mission statement, ask them if they feel it reflects who you are—or who they want you to be.

  1. Finalize and display it

Finalize your mission statement by incorporating the feedback you’ve received from employees and your target market. Once it’s perfected, display it prominently on your website. Having your mission front and center will help remind everyone exactly what you stand for.

Tips for a great mission statement

Your mission statement is responsible for capturing the fundamental purpose of your brand. 

Here are a few tips for writing a great brand mission statement:

Keep it concise

There’s a lot of information that needs to be conveyed in your mission statement, but you must keep it succinct. There should be no extraneous information, fluff, or unnecessary messaging. Consolidate your statement. Think it’s impossible? Just wait until you see what some familiar brands have come up with in the brand mission examples section below.

Make it collaborative

As we covered above, get feedback from your organization. Get everyone on board. The diversity of input will result in a mission statement that strengthens your company culture. This practice also ensures that employees are invested and plan to work in accordance with the mission statement.

Observe

What are others in your industry doing? Take a look at the brand mission statements of your most successful competitors for inspiration.

Ask the right questions

When you’re thinking through your mission statement, ask yourself the right questions to stay focused on your purpose.

Here are a few you might find helpful:

  • What is your purpose?
  • Who is your audience?
  • How do you intend to use your brand to change the world?
  • What makes you different from your competitors?
  • How do you want to be perceived by the public?

The answers to these questions should help you start your first draft. Return to them if you get stuck.

Be unique

Even though we suggested you look at your competitors’ mission statements, we did NOT suggest you copy them! What makes your company unique? Be specific to your brand story and highlight what makes you distinctive.

Know your audience

Remember your employees will bring this statement to life and your target customers will expect it. Your message needs to express your mission for both cohesively.

Be realistic

Your mission statement reflects how you are doing business now. Don’t be tempted to insert information that doesn’t belong. Save the inspirational talk for your vision statement.

Make it flexible

As your brand grows and the world changes, your mission statement may have to evolve. Reevaluate every few years to ensure that it still makes sense for your brand.

Brand mission examples

By now, you may have an idea of what you’ll include in your brand mission statement. To inspire you, we’ve put together a few examples. Note that some are extremely brief, but they still meet the criteria for a great brand statement.

Google’s mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Google’s mission statement clearly states its purpose in a single sentence. It’s concise, leaving you with no question about its mission.

Earth is now our only shareholder.

This is a new mission statement for Patagonia. They recently evolved into a purpose-driven company. Their voting stock is now owned by the Patagonia Purpose Trust to protect the company values. The Holdfast Collective (a nonprofit dedicated to fighting the environmental crisis) now owns all of the nonvoting stock. Each year, Patagonia will take the money they make after reinvesting in the business and distribute it to help defend nature.

Their core values remain the same: build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to protect nature, and not bound by convention.

Our mission is to power the curious so they can shape what’s next. For brave and ambitious teams, organizations, and communities, Momentive helps turn insight into action, empowering you to grow, innovate, and change what’s possible.

Momentive, the maker of SurveyMonkey, uses two clear statements to express its mission. They include who they serve, what they do, and how they do it.

Refresh the world. Make a difference.

Coca-Cola’s mission statement is another very concise statement. It covers the fact that they make refreshing beverages and use their global scale for leadership, good, and progress.

What’s your brand mission?

Start with your brand purpose and story, add in your core values, and you’ll be ready to create a mission masterpiece.

When you’re ready to create your own brand mission statement, SurveyMonkey has market research solutions that can help. Our market research solutions are designed to help you with everything from consumer segmentation to idea screening—that would be helpful for testing your mission statement!

Once you’re all set with your brand mission, our Brand Tracker is a one-stop solution for your brand. Monitor brand health, grow awareness, evolve perception, and more.

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